I’ve realized recently that I recharge my batteries by spending a sizeable portion of my weekend doing creative things. Knitting, beading, LEGO, cooking – any and all of that counts. And it’s vital. My health and well-being truly hinges on it.
I hope y’all are staying safe and mostly out of trouble.
I very clearly remember when the pandemic really hit my part of the world. We got enough warning at the university to help get the faculty ready to abruptly shift everything to be taught online and then that was it. The last day I actually got to work in my own office was March 20, 2020. I remember because that was the day before my birthday and it was the day everything shut down.
Lancelot and I both got the vaccine as soon as we were able to, more than a year after the bottom fell out of the world. I felt very fortunate to be able to do my part to protect not only myself but also those around me. We also both got booster shots as soon as we were able to, again happy to do so.
In our eyes this is nothing more “wicked” than a flu shot and we get those every year. I understand that a vaccine like this isn’t guaranteed protection, but they’ve proven time and time again that they help keep you out of the hospital if you do get COVID.
This week I’ve had two coworkers test positive, both are vaccinated and both had mild symptoms that are much like a nasty cold, but definitely not serious enough to be in the hospital. I feel bad that they’re sick, but I know they’ll get better.
By contrast I have a close friend who’s sister and brother in law believe the pandemic is a hoax and the vaccine is some government conspiracy, so they’re not vaccinated. They’re also both being transferred to the ICU this morning. I can’t bring myself to feel bad and at this point, their odds for leaving the hospital healthy are not great.
The moral of my story is that each of us has the ability to help end this pandemic. It’s taken a toll on our economies, our mental health, and our physical health. Damn near everything has changed and I truly don’t believe we’ll do the whole “return to normal” bullshit. That version of normal was kind of awful. But we get to start fresh with some stuff, make it better.
But we have to start by getting rid of The Rona.
Get the vaccine, get the booster, get your kids vaccinated, wash your hands, use that sanitizer stuff, wear a damn mask. And for fuck sake, if you’re sick just STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE.
Because here’s how this works – if you aren’t vaccinated and you die, I will have no sympathy for you at all. Seems to me like you brought that on yourself.
We had our “village” over for dinner Saturday night. These people are the friends we can call on at any time, for anything. And they can do the same with us. We all have our struggles and our emotional baggage from the past and we don’t hold that against each other. There’s a whole lot of unconditional acceptance and love in our village.
Lancelot’s birthday is later this week and I wanted to do something for him, but he’s not super excited about celebrating it or making a fuss about it. So I invited our friends over for dinner and didn’t say anything to any of them about it, or to him, until K noticed on the menu board in the kitchen that next Saturday we’re going out for L’s birthday with my folks. I wanted to keep things very low-key so that everyone was comfortable. It was amazing.
And the scarf has finally told me that it wants to be K’s. I had made them a beanie / fingerless mitt set and the colors coordinate nicely. At any rate, the scarf will have a good home with a great friend.
I try to stay optimistic about damn near everything, but I also try to be realistic. I watch the news at least once a day and I’ve been paying attention to what’s happening with the COVID-19 Delta variant. I know that even though we’ve been vaccinated we could still carry it and spread it. And I know that the governor in our state is a complete jackass when it comes to certain things, issues of public safety and health being what come to mind right now.
So we’ll be back to wearing masks in public, minimizing our exposure to and from other people. And for me this means I’ll be wearing a mask when I’m working on campus. Better safe than dead.
Next week is our vacation and our anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since we got married. It’s been one hell of a ride, especially considering that we’ve been living in a pandemic for the duration of our wedded life thus far. But I honestly can’t imagine going through this with anyone else by my side.
Lots of things have changed during the pandemic, some good and some not so good. Prior to the world essentially shutting down I hated working from home. It always seemed like such a pain in the ass, bringing home my laptop and finding space on my desk to set it up, and then trying to stay focused with so many potential distractions. It was, in my opinion, awful.
That was Garth and I back when this all started, possibly the very first day I worked from home. In all fairness, there was a LOT going on at that time. The pandemic was in the very early days, though we didn’t know that then. My mom was moving out of the house and in with R, my (now) stepdad. And I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen with the living situation involving Lancelot.
To say that I had a lot on my mind was a big fucking understatement.
Lancelot moved in, we got married, and I have a dedicated office space to work out of. Often there is a cat, or two, and sometimes a dog that serve as my coworkers. Some days I work in pajamas, some days I do laundry on my breaks, and I don’t typically wear my bra past lunch time. We have a system and it works and we all mostly enjoy it.
So this of course means that my plan to continue working from home has changed. We found out this morning that members of our team are going to be expected to be on campus at least three days every week. Well fuck.
The only thing that ever really stays the same is that damn near everything changes. I’m not sure if that’s true of the corporate world, I haven’t worked in that realm for so long, but it’s 100% true of higher education. Nothing stays the same and you can’t count on anything actually happening until it’s actually happening.
It’s definitely nice to know that I’ll still be coming home to this goofy little fuzzbutt.
I’ve been trying to stretch my culinary muscles by trying new recipes. Sometimes it is an utter fail. More often it results in a total win, like the picture above. I had purchased steel cut oats because I’d never tried them but had heard that you could cook them in a batch and then have multiple servings for during the week. This appealed to me. So yesterday I did a quick search and found this recipe that not only used the oats but also a few bananas that were at a point of needing to pay me some rent money. This is the recipe I kinda mostly sort of followed.
I have to say that I suck at following recipes like this because I improvise. I think I actually used 3 bananas, because I had them, and there’s no way in hell I measured the honey, vanilla, or cinnamon. I will say, based on the reviews I read, I opted to spray the inside of the crock with non-stick stuff before I started and I’m glad I did. Also, mine resulted in five servings that were approximately 1C each. (that’s what my little containers hold) I did the calorie breakdown based on the original ingredients but then divided for five servings instead of four and I get 252 calories. Not bad for a filling breakfast that took almost no effort.
I finished the flowers the other day. Not like this is fine art or anything, but it does make me happy to have been able to do it. I would like to try to work back up to at least feeling comfortable drawing. I don’t know that I’ll ever quite get back to the skill level that I was at, low as it was, but still. I’d like some small piece of that former artist to be back.
I am trying getting back to the healthier way of life. I did some food prep yesterday, in addition to the breakfast oat stuff I boiled a bunch of eggs, and I have the menu for the week figured out. I don’t really have lunches figured out but I might do leftovers. Today will be a baked sweet potato, mostly because it needs to be eaten and that’s something I like. Getting the food situation under control is crucial, but I know I need to get back to walking more.
There’s no excuse. I feel better when I make healthier choices in terms of calorie intake and activity. I’m an intelligent person, I understand causation. I know that every choice I make has a consequence, some good and some not so good. And I’ve done it before, so I can do it again.
I know that part of my difficulties right now tie back to the pandemic and the way the world has been lately. I had gotten used to traveling and being able to go wherever, whenever. And then we had to stop all of that so that we could all stay safe and be healthy. Totally worth it and I wouldn’t change anything we did. Lancelot and I have talked and in addition to getting the vaccines we’ll continue to wear masks inside businesses even though the mandates are lifting here.
But I’m tired of this house right now, much as I love it. There’s a very aggressive robin that built her nest above one of the lights on the back deck so I can’t get out in the yard without being attacked, and that isn’t helping. And the changes we’ve wanted to do inside the house are pretty well done. Over the weekend we went to my office and retrieved the rest of my stuff. My Master’s degree is now hanging up here in my home office, the first time it’s ever been hung off that campus.
So life is just fucking odd. And I need to escape, so we’re taking a road trip. L and I have only ever taken two trips together; a short road trip to a really cool little town in Missouri called Weston. I totally recommend it if you’re anywhere near the Midwest. Our other trip was to Ireland. It was amazing and I really want to get back there one day. We will.
This will be a short road trip, up north a bit this time. I’m ready for it, I need it. We’ll have some time to just be together and I think we need that.
Is that not absolutely stunning? It’s moonstone and sterling silver, and yes, I actually did parts of the construction. It was beyond wonderful to spend time with my friend Saturday morning and see first-hand what goes into making this kind of jewelry. Not only was it informative as hell, but getting to be with another human who I haven’t seen in absolute ages was totally wonderful. So I now know a little bit more about the process of silversmithing, I have an even deeper appreciation for the amount of work that goes into a piece like this, and I have a one of a kind wearable work of art that coordinates with the other beautiful moonstones pieces I have from her.
I also got to see my friend N and deliver his holiday gift, only four months late. He didn’t care. (he got that cabled scarf) We also went for lunch which was a lovely little bonus.
I still don’t feel like I’m totally back on track, but I’m trying. I have my clothes for the week organized, I spent time in the kitchen yesterday doing some food prep, I made cookies (healthy ones), and the laundry is essentially caught up. So yay!
I do have some fun stuff to look forward to this week. I’m going to do a session at the glass studio and try to make a little something for myself, just as another creative outlet. And on Saturday I’m going with Mom for mani/pedi time. My feet are very excited.
Keep doing what you can to help keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. L gets his second shot at the end of the month and we are excited as hell. WOOT!
It feels like an awful lot has happened since last I could be bothered to blog, and that’s probably because an awful lot has happened. Much of it has been good but there have been a few less than amazing things as well. That’s how life is though, right? Balance.
I am now the proud owner of two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shots. Unfortunately I had a fairly common reaction to the second one which was not so swell. I had chills, a headache, very little coordination, brain fog, zero appetite (though I could still smell and taste), and it felt like I had been hit in the arm with a sledgehammer. That lasted two days and then I was fine. If I had it to do all over again you can bet your ass that I would, in a heartbeat.
I have been knitting, and cooking, and still managing to lose weight. I am now down 26lbs, and as such as the smallest I have been since I was 18 years old. This pleases me to no end. I don’t even mind that I’m running out of clothes that fit.
With the knitting I’m working on what started life thinking it would be a simple shrug and has now decided it wants to be a kimono style vest, maybe with small sleeves. We shall see. But that’s the very rainbow piece up at the top of this post. I am loving the yarn.
Last night’s dinner helps with two of my goals for the year since it’s both an Indian dish and a vegetarian dish. For my first shot at making Mattar Paneer it really wasn’t half bad.
I’ve tried some new recipes that were mostly successful
we’re having a small group of friends over tomorrow night to celebrate a late St. Patrick’s, early birthday, and the start of our vacation
I have now lost 24lbs
I’m quite excited about how things are going with the weight loss. I have been trying to make sure that I not only get my steps in but I also pay attention to my calories and eat a good variety of food, including healthy fats, and that I’m getting plenty of water. It’s a process, to be sure, but there are definitely pieces of this that are just second nature now. And that, probably more than anything else, makes me ridiculously happy.
Well, also, my pants are starting to be way too baggy. That makes me pretty fucking happy too.
Tomorrow morning I’m going with Mom to get a manicure, something I haven’t done since right before Lancelot and I got married last August. I certainly don’t feel like having the one shot is going to magically make me bullet-proof, but it gives me hope. I do feel like there are a few more things I can do, still carefully, and that I don’t need to worry quite constantly or quite as much. It will still be many months, if not until next year, before I feel safe to travel anywhere other than by driving our car. I’m just not ready for planes yet.
I am ready for restaurants, and that’s pretty exciting. We’ve done a lot of take out in the last year, generally just once a week but still. There’s just something about actually going in somewhere and enjoying a good meal. I’m even going to get spiffed up. For my outing on Sunday with my folks I have a black dress that I’ve never worn that actually fits very nicely now.
The shot was fine, no issues at all. I actually woke up Saturday morning feeling better than I have in a while. So yay. The shot didn’t hurt or cause me any more trouble than any other vaccine I’ve ever had. It was less painful than the MMR, if anyone has an adult memory of getting that one. My only side effect was a slightly sore arm.
I’m doing pretty well with life in general right now. I did a lot of food prep stuff this weekend that I think will be helpful and I have a plan of attack for getting the house in shape for next weekend. For the first time since Lancelot and I have lived here together we are having friends over, in the house, for a meal and a concert.
I am damn near beside myself with excitement.
Everyone in attendance will either be fully vaccinated or have their first shot, with the exception of L. These are also friends of ours that are just as careful about COVID safety precautions as we are. And that will start the week of celebrations. There will be dinner with my mom and stepdad, dinner out with L at our favorite restaurant, museums, I’m assuming Thai food, and my birthday is in there. I need this vacation so damn bad.
The healthy eating/exercise/Noom stuff is going well. I’ve lost a total of 22.5lbs and now that I’m starting to feel better it’s time to get back to exercising. My goal (once again) is to hit 5000+ steps every day and to drink at least nine 8oz glasses of water every day. It’s just now coming up on 2pm and I already have almost 2200 steps so I consider that good. Thirty minutes on the treadmill will help quite a bit.
The food prep I did was mostly getting together more of the smoothie packs, partly because I had fresh spinach to use and partly because that was a big time saver. This time I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt and only 2.75oz. I also prepped four snack bowls with a hard boiled egg and two clementines and five “salad starters.”
I have these divided container things so I put fresh spinach in the biggest part and then chopped up a cucumber and divided that among the containers and used the smallest spot for shredded carrots. At lunch I dumped all of that into a big bowl and added a hard boiled egg, 1/4C roasted pumpkin seeds (also pre-measured), and my salad dressing (if you guess pre-measured you’d be right).
Having all of that measured ahead of time made my lunch preparation time today almost negligible. It was nice to have a little extra time during my break to do other things. Like laundry.
There was a meeting at work this morning, whole department not just my tiny team, that was meant to give us tips for not burning out and staying professional and basically just surviving the whole “you’ll be working from your homes now and no, we really aren’t sure for how long” business.
But we’ve been at this for over a year now.
And they really don’t know how much longer we’ll have to do it.
And yes, that’s a 25lb Goldendoodle on my lap.
Anyway, it seemed like rather a waste of time to me but what the hell do I know? And I guess that was my frustration; everything they talked about is either stuff I’m already doing (because we should) or avoiding doing (because we should) and I mostly felt like I could have done a better job of the session in part because of that. Well, that and a whole lot of self-awareness that I’ve cultivated over the last 15+ years of mental health care.
I started this post on Tuesday, right before all hell broke loose. So let me take just a moment to catch y’all up.
I’ve been fighting off this icky fatigue, upper respiratory, chills nonsense for a while now. Rather a long while. But I’m stubborn and, to the best of my knowledge, had not been exposed to The Rona. Tuesday afternoon my body decided to toss in some GI stuff and that was it. I changed into jammies and sought out a comfy chair in the sunroom and basically melted into a puddle of cold goo.
Yesterday morning I decided that enough was enough, the symptoms were too close to COVID for comfort. And Lancelot still goes to work every night and his place of employment is kinda “petri dish-esque.” I will say, I feel pretty good that this was the very first time either of us had felt the need to be tested. I feel good because we’ve been following the guidelines from that nice Dr. Fauci.
At any rate, it was not overly pleasant, not gonna lie. And mine has come back and it was negative. So I called my doctor’s office and got setup for a telehealth visit. That nice doctor said the rapid test I had done was not accurate enough for his liking, particularly given my symptoms, so he ordered another test that also included testing for influenza A and B. Fortunately you can do all three of those things with a single brain-tickling swab.
The results from that were all negative. Still don’t know about Lancelot. He feels fine though, which is good. So now I’m waiting to hear back from the doc about what we do next, especially since he mentioned bacterial pneumonia. So much fucking excitement I can hardly contain it.
For now I’m working, as best I can, and trying to stay warm and hydrated.
In other news, I am down 22.5lbs. I find that sort of miraculous given the last few days I’ve moved less than your average sloth and I’ve eaten more calories than I really needed. But I know that my body is doing its best to fight off whatever this is, plus I have an active cyst issue. Yay.
The other good news, my fingers are good enough that I’ve started knitting again. I had tried to make a hat for my stepdad for Christmas and it turned out too big, so I’m trying again with the kind of yarn I always use. It’s a delightfully straightforward pattern so it’s excellent TV knitting and right now that is precisely what I need.